Anna Hazare vs. Constitution

Is it War Against Graft or attempt to suicide?


Manoj Kumar | July 30, 2012

By questioning every established institution, Anna and his Team A are on a suicidal path. But there's no law to stop them. Hence the tragic derailing of the war against corruption.

Attempting to commit suicide by a person is an offence under the Indian penal Code. But what if some persons are causing a movement to commit suicide? We still don’t have a law to deal with such a situation.

Even the presence of a leading clan of legal eagles like the respected Bhushan father & son duo and enlightened luminaries like Kiran Bedi have not prevented Anna’s movement from attempting to immolate itself in the aspirational divide within the Team.

So much for getting carried away by the euphoria of August 2011 that they challenged the very credibility of the constitution and the institutions of state functioning thereunder.

Further, the movement initially started as a protest by Anna sitting on a fast for the maximum period permitted by the administration.

Having set up demands incapable of being met and refusing to scale down any bit, Anna & Co has now prompted to tread the movement on very thin ice.

What happens if the demands are never met in their terms? Has Anna or the movement or both thus embarked on a fast on to death?

Section 309 of Indian Penal Code makes attempt to suicide an offence. Fast to death has been held to be an attempt to suicide under Section 309.

In case of a person sitting on a hunger strike to get his demands fulfilled, the courts have held that if a person openly declares that he will fast to death and then proceeds to refuse all nourishment till the stage is reached that there is imminent danger of death ensuing, he can be held guilty of an attempt to commit suicide.

Unfortunately, with no similar law to deal with suicide of a movement, the immolation of this movement against corruption solely on account of the individual aspirational agenda of the team members within, the people of India cannot get justice even from a court of law.

Be that is it may, with the movement loosing its focus from ‘corruption’ perceived to have been at the core of the movement initially and hammering every institution of relevance under the constitution, death of the movement initiated by Anna is a foregone conclusion. 

If only Anna had taken the right leaves out of Gandhi’s movement for independence – to work within the system and be focused. Instead, Anna & Co have repeatedly equated an elected government and parliament with the British and attacked every office including that of the president.

People are left high and dry asking themselves whether Gandhi would have done some of the things that Anna is doing. Would Gandhi have tried to overthrow a duly elected government / constitution?  There is a difference in context between Britishers and our own government elected by us the people of India. Both cannot be equated to met out the same treatment.

How can a team comprising legally aware persons not know the difference? Have Team A’s personal aspirations, perceptions and priorities already derailed the larger issue of combating corruption?

Unfortunately, yes. What the future beholds for the movement is for anyone to guess.



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